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CRITO Distinguished Speaker Series

Technology as the Architect of our Intimacies

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Calit2 Auditorium
Light reception to follow in Calit2 Atrium


Register by Wednesday, November 23



Technology proposes itself an architect of our intimacies. And these days, technology offers us substitutes for direct face-to-face connection with people in a world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices. As we instant message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude. We talk of getting “rid” of our e-mails, as though these notes were so much excess baggage. Teenagers as well as adults avoid the telephone, fearful that it reveals too much. Besides, it takes too long; across the generations, we would rather text than talk.

Tethered to technology, we are shaken when that world unplugged does not signify, does not satisfy. Yet after an evening of avatar-to-avatar talk in a networked game, we may feel at one moment, in possession of a full social life, and in the next, curiously isolated, in tenuous complicity with strangers.

The world of our connections comes with so many bounties. But we begin to see that some things are amiss: sometimes we are too busy communicating to think, too busy communicating to create, and paradoxically, too busy communicating to connect with the people who matter.


Sherry Turkle is a professor, author, consultant, researcher, and licensed clinical psychologist who has spent the last 30 years researching the psychology of people's relationships with technology. She has been studying our changing relationships with digital culture, charting how mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics are changing our work, families, and identity. She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Her many books include a trilogy on digital technology and human relationships: "The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit," "Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet," and most recently, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other." Her investigations show that technology doesn't just catalyze changes in what we do -- it affects how we think.



Click here for directions to Calit2.


For more information, contact Maureen Vasquez at 949-824-1323 or



Sherry Turkle